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IPFS News Link • Hacking, Cyber Security

Prepare Now for When Quantum Computers Break Biometric Encryption: Trust Stamp

•, By Bianca Gonzalez

Quantum computers will open opportunities to solve problems in biometrics, drug synthesis, financial modeling, and weather forecasting, among other areas, according to Trust Stamp. But they will also be able to decrypt most of the encryption systems used to secure the internet and protect data today.

While experts expect quantum computers will not be able to scale to defeat such systems for at least another ten years, the white paper claims, entities should address "harvest now, decrypt later" (HNDL) attacks proactively.

Through an HNDL approach, an attacker could capture encrypted data pending the availability of quantum computing-enabled decryption. It is worth noting that this cyber threat would be heavily resource-intensive to perform. Such an attack would most likely only be feasible by a nation-state and would target information that would remain extremely valuable for decades in the future.

Still, HDNL is an especially concerning threat for biometric PII, due to its relative permanence.

Certain data encryption methods are particularly vulnerable. Asymmetric, or public-key cryptography, uses a public and private key to encrypt and decrypt information. One of the keys can be stored in the public domain, which enables connections between "strangers" to be established quickly.

Because the keys are mathematically related, it is theoretically possible to calculate a private key from a public key. While conventional computers are not able to perform these calculations, quantum computers can solve problems such as factoring integers through Shor's algorithm, rendering all public key cryptography (PKC) systems insecure.